Every year, usually after the holidays in February and sometimes later, the owner of a lifestyle block with a small flock of sheep will realise that it’s that time of the year again.
Before you get the rings out to castrate your lambs this Spring, decide if it’s a wise move to turn them into wethers.
If you get things wrong, you’ll end up with poor weaners that will be poor hoggets, and these in turn will make poor-performing ewes over their lifetime.
New Zealand is well advanced in slaughter practices in all meat works, where cattle, sheep, goats and pigs are electrically stunned before their throats are cut severing the carotid arteries.
If your sheep get diarrhoea, their daggy rear ends will be a very obvious sign, not just to you but to all the passers-by who look over your fence!
Hogget lambing is regularly promoted as a way to increase income, but results have been variable in the past.
The day you are offered an orphan lamb or kid to rear for school pet day - you have to be very hard hearted.
If you have to put your hand into the vagina, and then through the cervix of the ewe into the uterus to sort out a lambing problem, try this to make it easier:
Lifestyle blocks are unfortunately a great place to find sheep decorated with dags.
Sheep are seasonal breeders and ewes are stimulated to cycle by the declining daylight pattern in Autumn.
When a ewe is preparing to lamb, she’ll try to find a quiet spot for a birth site.
Rearing a pet lamb can be a great experience and it’s especially rewarding if you’ve saved a young lamb from starvation and exposure.
Foot scald and footrot become much more common during prolonged spells of wet weather and they are not easy to deal with.
A few hours before lambing, a ewe will move away from the main flock to find a quiet birth site.
Natural coloured fleece is sought after by handspinners, but the quality has to be right.